The Top 5 Functional Requirements for E-Commerce Websites

The Top 5 Functional Requirements for eCommerce Websites

Site Design and Conversion Point Essentials

As we know, having a business website in the digital era is essential. But while it’s theoretically very easy to create a website, building one that is superbly optimized for user experience and high conversions is rather more challenging. The average landing page has a 10% conversion rate, which means 90% of opportunities to gain customers are being lost. So how can you design a high-converting website that makes the most of these opportunities? Here are five website design and conversion point essentials you need to know.

It needs to be fast

According to this research report, a simple one-second delay in page load time leads to a 16% decrease in customer satisfaction, 11% fewer page views, and a 7% loss in conversions. Having a fast website is essential not just for user experience, but also for ranking well with Google. Slow websites kill conversions – in fact, 40% of users will abandon a page that takes three or more seconds to load. For this reason, Google recommends aiming for a three-second load time as best practice.

So what factors influence how long your pages take to load? Here are some of them?

  • Image size: maybe you have lots of beautiful stock images on your website? You may want to check the file sizes. It’s always worth resizing images offline before you upload them – large files are unnecessary and could significantly hinder your page speeds.
  • Rich content: too many images, GIFs and videos on a single web page is a recipe for slow load times. While visual content does improve the user experience, exercise moderation and keep it to what’s necessary.
  • Broken code: broken HTML code? Get it sorted out to improve page load time.
  • Broken links: likewise, errors such as broken links can also slow your pages down. Resolve these errors, and you will likely see some improvements.
  • Caching: Caching is a method of saving information in your browser so that you don't need to load every element on the page each time you refresh the page. Using the latest caching technology (such as BigPipe caching) can make a big difference.

It needs to be responsive

These days, responsive web design is very much the standard for building websites. With new gadgets arriving all the time, it’s simply impractical to create a different version of your website for each new device and screen resolution. Responsive design ensures that your website responds to the user’s behavior and environment, so as they switch from laptop to tablet, for example, it should automatically adapt to accommodate the device’s resolution, screen size and scripting abilities.

Businesses with non-responsive websites will no doubt be left behind, and will certainly not generate the conversion rate they are capable of. Discover how Acro Media utilized responsive design in this Koodo case study.

Contact us and learn more about our custom ecommerce solutions

It needs a smooth checkout flow

Your website’s checkout flow is where the money really is. After all, by this point, your website visitors are pretty close to converting. So how can you optimize the process to ensure that more customers complete their purchases?

The first thing to think about is ease of use. How easy is it to complete the process? This is where we can take a lesson from Amazon, whose process is as simple as a couple of clicks. 

The second thing to consider is clarity. Is it clear to users when they’ve added a product to the cart? What about being able to view their cart and see all the final costs? Bear in mind that last minute added costs are one of the top reasons that users abandon carts. In addition, it should be easy to make changes during the checkout process – for instance, deleting products or updating the quantity ordered. 

I always recommend offering more than one payment option. While most people will choose to use their credit card, having alternatives such as PayPal or Amazon may be more convenient for some users. It’s also wise to offer a guest checkout. Of course it’s preferable to have users create an account, but research shows that 1 in 4 of us abandon online purchases due to forced registration – plus, you can always give the option to create an account on your Thank You page later on.

Since we are a Drupal Commerce development agency, this is an area that we spent a lot of time researching. After all, the better the site, the more money our clients make. The latest version of Drupal Commerce has a totally redesigned checkout flow that makes it one of the best, if not the best, in the industry. I won't get into the details here, but you can read more about it if you like.

It needs to be personalized

Check Out Our High Five Drupal Web SeriesToday’s most successful websites are dynamic, user-friendly, and personalized to the user. It’s now standard practice for big brand websites to have dynamic web pages that change based on the individual. Strategic personalization is key to improving lead quality and displaying relevant content to your visitors that will make them more likely to convert.

How is it done? Three common ways to personalize the user experience are through search terms, geographic location, and browsing behavior. By knowing the search terms a user has entered to find your website, you can leverage the information to display more relevant content and advertisements. Personalizing pages based on geolocation can significantly impact conversion rates if your business has a geographic focus. And by analyzing users’ browsing behavior, such as which products they spend time looking at, you can start to display relevant offers and discounts as part of a targeted advertising strategy.

We have another blog post dedicated to using personalization to increase customer engagement. You can read here.

It needs to be accessible

On Google’s list of guidelines for website owners, one of the top pieces of advice they offer is this: focus on the user and all else will follow. It’s easy to forget, with the internet so much a part of our lives, that there are a number of people who find it harder to access information online – people with visual or cognitive difficulties, deafness, or motor impairment. Just as businesses need to be accessible in the real world, they should be accessible in the digital world too. 

Your website should be built and designed with accessibility in mind. This means choosing the right CMS, organizing the structure of your content logically using headings, including alt text for images so they can be interpreted by screen readers, labeling form fields appropriately, giving your links descriptive names, and making sure that your content can be accessed easily using only the keyboard, if necessary.

Ask yourself: are you following the WCAG 2.0 guidelines? This will give you a good idea of how accessible your website is – and what you can do to improve.

In summary, your website design needs to be:

  • Fast
  • Responsive
  • Smooth
  • Personalized
  • Accessible

Master these five areas, and you will find your customers are happier and your conversion rate is higher. If you need a flexible and comprehensive platform to cover all your bases, learn how Drupal Commerce can help. Got questions?

Contact Acro Media Today!

Victoria Greene is a branding and growth expert who runs a blog called Victoria Ecommerce. Here she shares tips with website and business owners looking to boost engagement and sales online.

Victoria Greene
Contributed by

Victoria Greene

, Guest Writer
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